Sunday, 26 January 2014

It's in the bag

Following my etsy v folksy post, whilst I was going to stick with folksy, after your comments, I won’t discount etsy. Thanks.

I hope you liked Monday’s last minute filler post . If you do get round to making the cake I’d love to know how it turned out.

What I wanted to show you last week was the bag I’m busy making. However things didn’t quite go to plan though. Not to worry, I’m back on track now.

It all started with a bag I bought in Mahon. Directly opposite our cruise ship were a couple of stalls selling scarves and leather goods. I was looking for a present for my mam (she was so hard to buy for), and as she liked scarves, thought I might find something suitable (unbelievably I did....).

Whilst I was looking for a scarf I came across a lovely shoulder bag. It wasn’t very big but had lots of pockets, which I just love in a bag. As it was only 8 Euros it was too good a bargain to miss.  As the bag got lots of use it became quite torn and battered, to the point that no amount of sewing could repair it any more.

I liked the style of the bag so after a couple of quick measurements and a rough diagram I set to work making one of my own. At first I was going to make it out of scrap fabric but then decided on leatherette. I have a love/hate relationship with leatherette so some things didn’t quite go to plan !!!!

I started with the flap, which turned out to be a bad move as that was the most complicated part of the bag.  If you’ve ever used leatherette you’ll know how stiff it is to work with so stitching the binding on wasn’t easy. I would have preferred not to have had the small pocket lining on show but as you can’t press leatherette (it melts – speaks the voice of experience !!!) I had to make do with a finger presser (a little device which lets you press fabric seams open without having to use an iron).


I next made the front and back pockets then had to hand stitched them together as it was too bulky to machine stitch – the joys of using leatherette...

After attaching the flap to the back pocket I hand stitched six small D rings to the sides and back so the bag can be used either as a hand bag or a back pack.


All that’s left to do is make the handles and attach the pocket linings. Hopefully I’ll have that done for next week. Famous last words.....

Have a great week.

Love,

Gertie xx

PS why not pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to.

Monday, 20 January 2014

January's bake of the month

I'm running a little late with what I had planned to blog about so here's the 'bake of the month' instead. 

A jam sandwich is a quintessential teatime cake that is simple to make yet so delicious. Normally when you make a jam sponge, or indeed any sponge cake, the recipe is two eggs and 4oz/100g of flour, butter/margarine and sugar.

The recipe I’m about to share with you has a twist, in that I can’t tell you how many oz’s or g’s to use. How will I know what to weigh out? The secret is in the eggs – literally !!!

The eggs, still in their shells, are weighed and whatever it says on the scales, you weigh out that amount of flour, butter/margarine and sugar.

Lets say the two eggs weigh 4 ¾ oz’s (I’m an old fashioned girl so always work in oz’s). Measure out 4 ¾ oz’s of self-raising flour, butter/margarine and caster sugar. No matter what the eggs weigh, always use the same weight for the flour, butter/margarine and sugar.

I was a bit sceptical when I first tried making a cake this way as I didn’t think it would make much difference. How wrong I was !!!! It was so light and the rise was double what I normally got. Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself....


Jam sponge sandwich cake – with a twist to it

Ingredients:
  • Two eggs
  • Self-raising flour, sifted
  • Caster sugar
  • Butter/margarine
  • 1 level tea-spoon of baking powder
  • Jam (strawberry, raspberry, any kind you like)
  • Icing sugar

Method:
  • Line two 7 inch/18cm round cake tin with baking parchment or non-stick liners (Lakeland sell them and they’re brilliant).
  • Pre-heat oven to 180º c/Gas Mk 4. Fan oven 160ºc.
  • Weigh the eggs, still in their shells. Whatever the eggs weigh, that’s the amount you’ll need for the flour, sugar and butter/margarine.
  • Put the flour, baking powder, sugar and butter/margarine into a bowl or mixer then add the two eggs.
  • Beat well until everything is combined and the mixture is smooth to the point that it will drop off a spoon.
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tins, trying to get the same amount in each tin (I weigh them to make sure). Make a slight well in the centre of each cake - this will stop the centre from rising too much.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Try not to open the oven door during the cooking as this can stop the cakes from rising. If, however, you think the cakes may be burning at one end (this sometimes happens if you're using a fan oven) you can safely open the door when you are past half way in the cooking time.
  • To check to see if the cakes are cook gently press the surface of the cake with a finger. If it springs back it’s cooked. You can also test it by using a skewer (or knitting needle or a piece of spaghetti). Piece the centre of the cake and if it come out clean then it’s done.
  • Once the cakes are cooled spread the jam over one of the cakes. You can use as much or as little as you like but try not to get it too close to the edge as it will spread naturally when the other one is put on top of it.
  • Take the second cake and carefully put it on top of the jam layer. Finally sift the icing sugar over the top of the cake. 

 Have a great week.

Love,

Gertie xx

PS why not pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Etsy v Folksy

It’s been a quiet week sewing wise as I’ve been busy reading and researching for my new business.

I came to the decision early on that my business would be purely online selling. I know that attending craft fairs are great places to sell but I have to be realistic. My physical health isn’t good and whilst Mr Gertie would help me out, it’s unfair to ask him to do so each time.

I’ve been checking out Etsy and Folksy to see what kind of things are selling and also getting a gauge of prices and postage. I would love to offer free postage – as a buyer I hate paying it – but is that practical. I read that customers who buy handmade items from the likes of Etsy and Folksy expect to pay postage, yet buyers on eBay want free postage. Do you think that’s correct?

Comparing the two sites Etsy is the bigger of the two, and so has the potential for more customers, however getting a foot in the door won’t be easy. Folksy, being smaller, means that customers aren’t bombarded with thousands of items so my products could have a chance of being noticed. I also checked out UK sellers on Etsy against Folksy and those on Folksy had the higher percentage of sales.

Having weighed everything up I’m going with Folksy for now, then (hopefully) branch out to Etsy and possibly other sites too. Now all I need is things to sell....

Have a great week.

Love,

Gertie xx

PS why not pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

A scottie here, a scottie there

 I wasn't sure if I was going to have a post for this week as things have been pretty quiet here sewing wise. Then I remembered two bags I finished making just before Christmas.



I also made little keyring purses to go with them.



All being well they will be added to the stock of bags I'm making ready for when I start my business later in the year. However as I love scottie dogs I may keep them for myself....

 Have a great week.

Love,

Gertie xx

PS why not pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014